Do you find your creativity at a lull and needing a jolt at times? For extra spark, gain insights from leaders and designers to jump-start your creativity. Consider the following:
1. Amp up your idea Gregg Fraley suggests starting your creative journey by believing you are creative.
Believe it. Simply Believe You Are Creative. Your most basic beliefs drive how you think, your brain listens to the programming you put in via your thoughts, like punch cards on an old computer. If you keep feeding it the “I’m Creative” card, it starts acting like it. When we hit the wall seeking ideas, feed in the card “I’m going to think of something great,” or “I’ll have a great idea for this.” Even when your faith falters, as the songs says, Don’t Stop Believin, fake it until you make it — you will make it — make an active choice to be creative.
2. A funky environment energizes creativity Visualfunk describes how well-chosen objects make creative spaces come to life. The environment that you create for yourself, Visualfunk notes, has a massive influence on your creative output and energy levels. He compares working in a gray cubicle to an environment where you can open your eyes to the world. So… Put up a painting. Make something. Paint a wall! Change it, add to it and have some fun. Go nuts and great things will happen for your creative space.
Others work best in a quiet space, which brings nature in and opens to light and air. An incubation display, including a bulletin board and a work table to display materials signifying your preparation process, keeps your project moving ahead. A sign on the wall, such as I claim this creative space, or quotes, articles, photos and awards gives you affirmative messages, according to Ned Herrmann in The Creative Brain.
3. Do You Associate? Associating is a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problem, or ideas, Jay Deragon reports. Creativity frequently generates from cognitive connections outside of the historical ‘containers and influence’ of control over thinking. Why not invite someone very different to lunch and take some questions to explore and see how it spurs new thoughts and solves some puzzles you’ve left on the back burner.
Try new associations and see where your mind takes you.
4. Make the Most of Change Leverage strengths, skills and savvy to maximize assets present in any situation, Hank Wasiak recommends. In this way, you can mine the gold to maximize the upside. Use Hank’s Asset Based Thinking questions when problems disappointments or setbacks arise:
Shift from threat to challenge. You are far more effective and proactive when you are motivated by the “promises of victory” than you are by the “fears of defeat”.
Step One. Ask yourself, What do I fear most about this situation? What are the real or potentially real losses associated with what’s happening?
Step Two. Ask, What can I or we do to eliminate my fear? What can I or we do to minimize the fear of change or loss?
Step Three. Given this situation, what are the possibilities and opportunities for myself, others, team or organization? How could I/we grow or benefit? What could I/we learn?
Step Four. How can I/we put our drive and enthusiasm for achieving these possibilities and seizing those opportunities to work?
Fear releases the flow of cortisol in your body and brain. This chemical prevents clear thinking and making good choices. To move from threat to challenge, write down answers to ABT questions and act on these immediately and daily for a makeover that brings promises of victory.
By acting on challenges and meeting them, a sense of satisfaction and well-being releases serotonin, a chemical that promotes higher problem solving skills. It’s your choice.
5. Why grow up? “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up?” ~ Pablo Picasso.
“Older people who engage in arts programs taught by professional artists show improved health — overall improvements in physical and mental health,” Timothy Carpenter points out. Painting, pottery, dance, music, poetry, drama, material culture and oral histories in a creative context produce overall health improvements, researcher Gene Cohen, M.D., discovered in a landmark study.
Carpenter shows how Suzanne Knode, a 67 year-old from Boston moved to Burpank Senior Artists Colony and wrote her first screenplay as an assignment in a creative writing class. The making of the film was documented by This American Life, an NPR show which featured Suzanne’s late-life reinvention into an artist.
Suzanne summarized her late-life reinvention on the Experience Talks radio show: “I couldn’t believe that there would be a community for me at this time in my life. I didn’t think I’d be able to find something new inside of me. You know that same feeling when you got out of school and the whole world was open to you? Now, all over again, the whole world is open to me.”
Suzanne blossomed as she began to play creatively. How might you reinvent yourself creatively to break the mold as a leader?
6. Ideas need space for birth – time to grow Often an idea jumps into our world and seems to have appeared out of nowhere… Jose Baldaia muses, but in fact they represent a set of connections we make. And interestingly, Jose adds, Connections we make, with some frequency are surprisingly fresh and original, and it seems that the ideas come from nothing.
But nothing will come of an idea unless it connects or collides with other ideas, Baldaia reminds us. Often an idea jumps into our world and seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Then we need to leave comfort zones and perhaps even collaborate with others. To do so and, To be creative we need to elaborate or define our idea, Jose says. An idea cannot be vague, we must be specific enough so that others can understand, talk about it, work on it and explore it according to their potential.
And to make the most of the idea, Jose Baldaia urges people to go further and to do in
a way that with our idea becomes innovation we have to play with our ability to accept risk.
Are you ready to play with your ideas? Change your thinking… change your mind.
7. Creative Genius’s Don’t Add, They Take Away Let’s start with the simple child’s riddle Dave Dumanis used to make his point on Creativizer.
Q: How do you carve a sculpture of an elephant?
A: Get a big block of marble. Then carve away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.
Dave sees this as driving “right at the crux of what it means to be creative,” and he explains how…
Creative professionals know that only an amateur would ever say, “What can we add to make this more creative?”
You make a better creative product by picking and choosing – by focus – by taking away.
Dumanis ever so briefly provides three illustrations and asks… “What can you take away?”
8. Splendid Ideas plus… Agatha Christie never knew where ideas might spring from… “Plots come to me a such odd moments, when I am walking along the street, or examining a hat shop… suddenly a splendid idea comes into my head.”
Christie’s inspiration came from the world she knew. She drew on the military gentlemen, lords and ladies, spinsters, widows, and doctors of her family’s circle of friends. A natural observer, her descriptions of village politics, local rivalries, and family jealousies are often painfully accurate. Her grandson, Mathew Prichard, has described her as a person who listened more than she talked, who saw more than she was seen.
She made notes in dozens of notebooks, jotting down ideas and potential plots and characters as they came to her. Christie spent her time working out all the details and clues in her head before putting pen to paper. Her son-in-law, Anthony Hicks, once said, You never saw her writing, she never shut herself away, like other writers do.
Nothing turns out quite in the way that you thought it would when you are sketching out notes for the first chapter, or walking about muttering to yourself and seeing a story unroll.
What if you were to write a…_____ or embark on an innovative venture from Agatha Christie’s perspective?
9. World Needs Your Creativity Artists, geniuses, successful entrepreneurs, famous writers are all like you when it comes to creativity, Tanner Christensen points out. So what’s holding you back?
You and any creative genius who has ever walked this planet are the same in that you have a brain between your ears and you have ideas, probably a lot of ideas. The difference between you and them is that they take action, they make things happen, in spite of fear or pain or failure or public humiliation.
The world needs your creativity, now more than ever. We need you to step up to the plate and help us come up with alternative fuel sources, or a way to make my commute less than an hour. We need you to create, to inspire.
Right now, starting today, you are going to change the world. And you’re going to do it easily. The world needs you to stop being afraid of your ideas, of doing things differently. We need you to start embracing your creativity any way you know how.
You have the jam to make it happen!
10. Tap Into Novelty The challenge of something different stirs the human brain. Novelty’s a motivator for most folks. An unexpected stimulus sparks desire for humans to explore and learn. Since our brains are wired to avoid boredom and ruts, when a stimulus activates the brain, most people explore further in search of some kind of reward at the end. Often release of dopamine, which brings a high level of satisfaction, is reward in itself.
Why not begin your creative makeover with 3 brainpowered tools from Ellen Weber?
- Do something tomorrow that you’d like others to see in you.
- Listen to the opposite of your idea and share what you learned from it.
- Hold a crown over heads and support people to grow into them.
It means that inventing the future isn’t simply about making flying cars and other cool stuff you find in sci-fi novels.
We can actually invent the future by figuring out new meanings for the things that are already here.
Kastelle thinks by innovating language by making new novel connections between ideas is the best way to invent the future. What are your thoughts?
12. Unconventional Strategy – Implementing what doesn’t make sense! Whoa, how can you do that? Mike Brown tells a story about the time he and fellow students entered a timed, competitive segment called, ‘Calculations with Calculators.’ Strangely enough, neither Mike nor his friends had a calculator. But, under pressure they concocted a strategy:
We’d each scan through the test and work only the easiest math problems – the ones which clearly didn’t require a calculator to solve.
Not too surprisingly, this strategy allowed their team to answer more questions than any of the other teams! Mike suggests that we try an unconventional strategy, when natural strategies will not work.
People who welcome new experiences have stronger connections between their memory and reward brain centers than people who tend to avoid anything new, research now shows. How will you prime your creativity for your next creative adventure?